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Talking with author Randal W Williams

Talking with author Randal W Williams.


Hello Randy thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.

What inspired you to write initially?
Well, my writing career actually began with various articles for martial arts magazines in the 70's. I then went on to write 9 books over the years on the martial arts. I never hoped to become famous, but I suppose I may have made something of a name in that area. Now I am hoping to get my theory on Jack the Ripper out to the public, and perhaps to be known as the detective to have solved the age-od mystery.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Writing "Sherlock Holmes and the Autumn of Terror" gave me an opportunity to combine my favourite real-life mystery with my favourite fictional character and to do with that combination what I imagine Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have done with it. I hope your readers will be happy with the result.

I have been involved in the martial arts for over 40 years, and have followed the Ripper case for just as long.  I am a Pennsylvania-based US detective and have dabbled in fiction in order to present my true-life resolution of the 1888 murders in the form of an authentic-reading Holmes story.

Please tell us a little about your books
The evil and cruel party that came to be known as "Jack the Ripper," England's first serial killer, terrorized the streets of Whitechapel in London's East-end during the fall of 1888, now referred to as The Autumn of Terror.  The five "canonical" murders (those generally agreed upon by the majority of Ripper experts, known as "Ripperologists" as being committed by the infamous killer) took place during the exact period when legendary literary sleuth Sherlock Holmes would have been in his heyday as a thirty-five-year-old "private consulting detective" in London. 

In the series of short stories and novelettes penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during those years, Holmes was often called in to assist the (portrayed as mostly incompetent) London Metropolitan Police and Scotland Yard in their more problematic investigations.  Which begs the question; why did Holmes never take on London's -- and indeed the world's -- most infamous unsolved mystery, which would have taken place right under his very nose in 1880's London? 

My answer; he did. And not only did he investigate it at the request of The Crown, but in my story, he also solved the case.  However, like many of the fictional detective's most puzzling and intriguing cases, the results of this investigation led Holmes to make connections to persons and events whose revelation could result in explosive situations which might have had serious ramifications on British politics and society.  And so, in the same way a number of supposedly unreleased case outcomes mentioned through Watson's narration in stories like The Problem of Thor Bridge, The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger and The Adventure of the Creeping Man, the results of the Ripper case have remained unpublished -- "entombed in a tin box" -- until such time that all concerned parties are long-since dead, or the implications of the investigation's outcome could no longer be damaging or threatening to national security.  Thus, 125 years after the fact, the Ripper's identity could finally be revealed in the year 2017.
My story, Sherlock Holmes and the Autumn of Terror, is a fictionalized version of my own actual theory on the true identity of Jack the Ripper, which has never before been put forth, and is supported by the huge amount of irrefutable evidence I have amassed as you will see.  It is based on years of investigation, numerous trips to the actual crime scenes in London, as well as the application of Holmes' methods in my own experience as a Private Detective, my avid readership of all the Holmes stories and my love for foreign languages, solving puzzles and word games.  I have used all of this, along with expert advice, to create what I believe to be a possible, plausible resolution to one of the world's greatest unresolved mysteries.  Many of the people, incidents and evidence presented in this tale actually existed, and are intermingled with characters, colloquial dialect and events taken from Doyle's writings in order to create and maintain an air of authenticity.  But reader beware -- lest you condemn me for not having done my research in my contemporary usage of slang such as "nark of the police," "crib" (in reference to someone's home or apartment), "smash-and-grab," "What's up" and other modern-sounding words and phrases in the 1800's, let me assure you that all of these -- and many more -- were borrowed directly from the pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's own Sherlock Holmes works.  There may be two exceptions.  Let's see if you can tell which ones they are.
Also included in this novel is a short story-within-a-story called The Bogus Laundry Affair that was written from Holmes' perspective, in the style of The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier. The reader may choose to skip directly over it or read it entirely separately from the rest of the book, as doing so will have no bearing on the outcome of the rest of the bigger story -- it contains no spoilers.  ‎The only thing it has in common with Doyle's original concept as introduced in The Adventure of the Cardboard Box is the name of the story, the mention of one DI Aldridge, and a generous sprinkling of Holmes- and Watson-isms as borrowed from a number of my favorite Sherlock Holmes tales as well as other writings of horror, mystery and imagination by Doyle. 

Is it available now?
Not yet. I am in talks with Galaxy-44 publications (formerly Planet Ann Rule) at the moment. If all goes to plan, the book will be available online soon, and in book form within the year.

Normally I write instructional books on the martial arts, but due to my 40+ years work on the Ripper case, my first venture into fiction had to be in the crime genre. True crime is my preferred reading.

How long did it take to create?
This one was 40+ years in the making, and took just over a year to actually put together as a novel.

You have had nine books published. Do you have a favourite?
The series of 6 I wrote when I was living in Singapore in 1987/88

They were based on the particular style I teach - Wing Chun Kuen, a form of Chinese Kung Fu made famous in the 1970's by Bruce Lee, who was my teacher's instructor.

What is homelife and your writing environment like?
I live on a 50 acre farm where I raise horses and have three great big dogs

I write here -


I lock myself into my office with my computer, my pipe and my tobacco with some classical music playing in the background.

Was your latest book a difficult book to write?
No, it was a pleasure and a labour of love. In fact, at certain points it seemed to have written itself.

Your favorite chapter 
"The Fabulous Baker Boys Meet the Berner Street Rippers"

Because the entire story comes to a head. Then Holmes explains it all to Lestrade later. I also love the chapter where I clue the reader in on what happens when Holmes goes into his office and injects his "Seven Percent Solution" to solve the mystery.

There is first a war of words, and then an actual battle between Holmes and Watson and the men who I believe were actually a team that were the real Jack. 

Any underlying message in your books?
Yes, Jack the Ripper had a very real agenda in committing the murders and was an ultra-intelligent villain that avoided detection for 125 years thanks to an ingenious ruse I expose in my book.

Anyone that loves Holmes, loves a mystery, or wants to know the true identity of Jack the Ripper should enjoy my book.

Are there any rewards as an author?
Leaving behind a legacy. "History belongs to those who have written the best books."

Have your family and friends been supportive in your chosen career?
Very much so. Friends around the world have helped in more ways than I can explain.

What's next for you when this book is published?
I am planning to investigate and write about the mysterious 1973 death of Bruce Lee in Hong Kong

At the moment I am trying to promote "Sherlock Holmes and the AoT"

Any other literature-based projects on the go?
A true-crime version of the Ripper story sans Holmes and Watson.

How can people get hold of a copy of the book?
I will know that answer very soon. All depends on who ends up publishing it.

Many thanks for Taking the Time to Talk

Readers you will be able to find 'The Bogus Laundry Affair' from the book 'Sherlock Holmes and the Autumn of Terror' starting tomorrow in our Café Pause section.


See part one of The Bogus Laundry Affair http://www.englishinformerinfrance.com/full-article/The-Bogus-Laundry-Affair

Comments (3)

Tim Atkinson. - 14/06/2016

Wonderful Randy. Cant wait to read the book... Tim

Randy Williams - 14/06/2016

*takes a bow*

Sue Arbogast - 14/06/2016

"it seemed to have written itself". Just like the series of 6 in 1988 it will be a success. all the best, Sue

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